​​Intelligent automation: Bringing AI and RPA together with intelligent document processing

May 08, 2019 by Jessica Munday

intelligent automationi

Optimization — it’s what differentiates successful, market-leading companies from the rest. Without it, companies would be operating with the most expensive, inefficient, and slowest means possible.

Our world thrives on optimization. Every day there’s a new company pushing the boundaries and setting higher standards for the world as we know it. There are no finish lines when it comes to who can do it best.

This next industrial wave will make business optimization more important than ever. It will put AI alongside the human workforce to produce more, waste less, and do so faster and better than ever imagined.

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Building blocks of business optimization

Business process automation (BPA) is not new. It stems from business process management (BPM) that was brought about during the 1990s. BPM focused on simplifying and optimizing processes for businesses on a broad scale. BPA is an aspect of BPM that uses automation to eliminate repetitive workflows using a machine, software, tool or system with little-to-no human interference.

The goal of BPA is to rapidly improve the efficiency and productivity of an organization by getting rid of the mundane tasks that waste the valuable time of a company’s human workforce. It’s holistic technology that covers end-to-end automation of a certain process.

Historically, BPA tools were limited in what they could do, understand, and the tasks they could perform. Most tools often automated precise, rule-based processes like manipulating data or triggering automated responses.

Then there is robotic process automation (RPA), which is the software that enables BPA. It’s the physical technology that does the automating and completes these tasks. While BPA focuses on widespread automation of processes, RPA focuses on more narrowed automations.

Gartner calculated global RPA revenue on this technology to hit nearly $2 billion in 2021, with expectations that the market will continue to grow at double-digit rates through 2024. This explosion saw little-to-no signs of slowing down even in the face of economic downturn from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The future of this technology continues to impress. By 2025, the economic impact of implementing RPA into organizations is expected to reach $55 billion, and 35 million employees are expected to interact with the technology regularly. 

That type of growth within the RPA industry wouldn’t be possible without the advanced technology that’s now becoming increasingly available to businesses, which leads us to the next generation of business optimization: intelligent automation.

The next generation of intelligent automation

AI is now more advanced, more capable, and more easily accessible than ever before.

The developments in recent years have made it so machines can perform much more than previously imaged. For example, virtual assistants can now understand language and complete requests by humans. Other AI can recognize facial images and automate based on its detection (e.g. iPhone’s face unlock feature). These examples are merely the tip of the iceberg for the potential of AI and related technologies on business optimization.

This technology is also steadily becoming more available to the masses. What was previously only reserved for academia, the elite or science fiction is now in the majority of the global population’s pockets.

When these advanced AI technological capabilities are combined with RPA software, the possibilities are endless. RPA automates repetitive tasks that bog people down while AI analyzes, learns, and solves problems. The next generation of business tools will use technology enabled with both RPA and AI to accelerate productivity to unseen heights.

This generation of tech is called intelligent automation. Intelligent automation can be easily defined as a mixture of automation and AI to perform work processes, augment decision making or solve problems.

Intelligent automation is incredibly powerful. Some real applications include:

  • Using text mining and natural language processing to generate documents such as insurance claims, medical forms, and invoices from email text or other unstructured formats.
  • Analyzing the behavior of financial customers and recommending best next steps for a banker to close a mortgage loan deal.
  • Optimizing logistics routes, manufacturing workflows, or packaging warehouse output to increase speed efficiency and automatically alert proper departments or representatives involved in process handlings.

The above are tasks that would take workers hours of cognitive effort to strategize, plan, and execute, while it only takes an intelligent automation platform a fraction of that time.

This frees up employees to spend time on more productive work. For a doctor, this means more availability for seeing patients. For a banker or insurance provider, this means more availability for helping customers. With intelligent automation, people can spend more time on the tasks they enjoy and excel at.

As humans waste less time, the benefits of using business optimization technology pile up. Overall productivity improves, operating costs are reduced, and tasks are done more efficiently.

The global spend on intelligent automation hit $10.9 billion in 2021, with continued growth anticipated for the industry to surpass $13 billion during the next two years.

Where does intelligent document processing (IDP) fit in?

Intelligent document processing (IDP) has emerged as a crucial element within the wider automation landscape. IDP technology was born out of the need for organizations to accurately extract data from documents. In essence, IDP leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) to effectively handle and oversee document-centric business processes.

Through the adoption of IDP, companies can optimize business processes involving a large volume of documents to reduce manual effort, enhance precision, and reach their digital transformation goals.

A notable advantage of IDP is its seamless integration capability with other automation tools like robotic process automation (RPA). This compatibility with existing technologies enables companies to enhance their current automation strategies, leading to improved overall efficiency and expanded operational scope.

Hero Platform_ uses an Application Programming Interface (API) to transform existing systems, software, and databases into a “business intelligence fabric.” Our industry-leading native AI is built into the platform, so it can intelligently process any document, providing a valuable service within a wider automation strategy.

Why use IDP in your IA strategy for sales

In 2021, a major challenge for B2B businesses centered on qualifying leads and generating high sales performance. Without a well-oiled, highly productive sales organization, businesses fail to scale, grow, or remain successful and profitable in their market. Yet, the sales process is riddled with inefficiencies that prevent representatives from being productive and bringing revenue into the company.

Sales teams spend hours writing emails, scheduling meetings, entering data, filling out forms, and copy and pasting information. In total, this burden amounts to 64% of a sales team’s time spent on non-revenue generating activities. 

Eliminating these excessive processes that prevent sales productivity should be an initiative on any company’s agenda. Using intelligent automation will give companies a competitive advantage.

In 2021, intelligent automation was the automation technology companies considered investing in most, according to a survey of digital transformation leaders across industries, with 48% of participants looking to allocate resources to the growing field within the next year.

Businesses, now more than ever, rely on tech to optimize their processes. This is especially the case as a new generation of business optimization approaches with artificial intelligence and automation at the helm.

Unlock the intelligence in your documents with our AI-driven automation today

Learn how we helped Markerstudy reduce its claims processing time by 40%. Additionally, learn how we reduced total claim processing time by 80% for another multinational insurance partner — cutting down manual tasks from 10 minutes to just two minutes per claim.